Leaders or Dealers???

The land of spices, coconut and lush greenery…
God’s own country, carving a niche for itself in world tourism…
First state to achieve near universal adult literacy… developed-world like life expectancy rate and good quality health care…
(The much touted Kerala Model of the 1970s has sadly collapsed and crumbled since then.)
Women outnumber men and that is so rare when compared to the typical Indian scenario…
The much prized secular co-existence with people of all religions… (even here dents are making inroads, thanks to vote bank politics.)
Politics courses through the peoples’ veins and newspapers are a must read for even the very average Keralite…

Along with all these feel-good factors in the field of education, health care and harmony, Kerala has so much to offer by way of resources also – be it natural resources including water and the most important of all – human capital. Yet, development is scarce. It is also stagnant. Politics, infighting, corruption and a host of other issues plague this little state of mine. Hartals and strikes are our regional pastime. Threats to public and private property during such enforced holidays have stunted growth at a cost of very large number of man hours. Boozing is the state hobby. The enormous consumerist culture, conflicting interests and petty politics have come to vitiate the very fabric of the once peaceful and productive state.

The young population is the pillar of any region. They are tomorrow’s citizens, nation builders, leaders and peace makers. What if some of these youth show signs of deviancy and delinquency? That is frightening. And it is sad and shocking to see that this happened in of all places, Kerala.

IAS officer

A gang of politically inclined youth (read: prospective leaders!) affiliated to the Congress’s youth wing, Kerala Students Union (KSU), marched into the Higher Secondary Education Director, Keshvendra Kumar IAS’s office on last Tuesday. After some slogan shouting and in spite of hearing a patient explanation by him, without any provocation they splashed black engine oil all over the IAS officer. (Earlier cowitch powder was sprinkled on unsuspecting students by teachers in the course of a teachers’ strike. What ingenuity when it comes to rotten deeds! I wish people could use their brains for creative purposes and not for such heinous acts!!) The Officer has gone on record saying, “I never expected this to happen in a civilized state like Kerala known for its progressive ideas and a high literacy rate,’’ said HSE Director, the incident. Ouch! Civilized? Progressive ideas? What bearing does high literacy have on a person? Culture and wisdom? I wonder if anyone would call us having any of those after what has happened.

The young IAS officer, Keshvendra, who hails from Sitamarhi district in Bihar on the other hand worked as a ticketing clerk in the Railways in Kolkata. After his day time work with the Railways, he toiled hard at night preparing for the civil services exam. He enrolled for a distance education course with IGNOU, passed IAS in his first attempt in 2008 and was ranked 45, an amazing feat from a man who could not even continue his regular classes after school. He needed a job to support his family which had been struggling hard to meet his education expenses.

It is indeed a blot on the state that these rogues engaged in such vandalism and deviant behaviour. Punitive punishment must be meted out to such disgruntled elements. These youth are the canker of the society. They should never be allowed to be part of any political party now or ever.  That will serve not only them but also those who sport such ideas a very essential lesson.

Mr Kumar, I apologize, profoundly and sincerely, for what a few of my compatriots did. I hope and pray that you will not judge the state and its people by the hooligan act of a handful. We need more IAS officers like you, Mr Kumar, to showcase strength of character, tenacity of purpose and  high aspirations to these youth who are honestly devoid of role models and are totally value-less. May your life and the insight into your travails in the course of your journey to the IAS be something inspirational to each young mind, here and all over the country.

Image Source: Deccan Chronicle

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